Why do a book club? What is the business value?
Innovation cultures are a highly sought after, but harder to achieve. Book clubs, when following a few guidelines, have played a role in Google, DuPont and Bridgewater Associates Financial among others. Innovation calls for a mind that is flexible and curious – one that questions and pushes beyond how the ‘box’ tries to contain possibilities. Innovation required overcoming all that mechanicalness and inability to question assumptions. But only if they are run in a way to do that. Carol Sanford has run hundreds of book clubs for over a decade. As a result, Google, Starbucks and others have purchased cases of each of her books annually, and have participated in her books clubs, basically for free for a decade and all her books. Carol does not recommend consulting programs, but education processes to improve innovation and uses book clubs as a very powerful instrument
Book clubs that foster innovation require carefully designed workshops and dialog processes, disruptive workbook exercises and meeting structures for engaging together inside the business. Businesses also benefit from extensive interaction with the author who is not trying to convince people of anything, but to get them to question, examine, reflect and experiment‚ all with the intention to build a mind that fosters innovation.
Book clubs are about developing thinking and discernment capability of organizational members. But they need to be structured so that they move people toward innovations underlying practices.
We know from research that:
Reading is good for your brain. It is highly associated with more creative and flexible thinking
Book clubs are sociable and prompt discussion with old or new colleagues and promote dialog.
Reading materials that you might not have otherwise read, together with others, can expand horizons.
Book clubs offer a way to reflect on your organization without politicizing the conversation.
Book clubs are fun!
Follow up Beyond the Book Club: If you are looking for additional ways to design changes for your organization based on the principles and practices in The Regenerative Business, you might want to join The Regenerative Business Development Community, an online engagement over a year-long period. Twelve to fifteen businesses meet 8 times for two hours over the year. There are four additional personalized work sessions for each business, held separately between the main sessions, with a Resource from The Regenerative Business Alliance, a Carol Sanford Institute Community.
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